Neil deGrasse Tyson 'Goes There' on Climate Change: Creationists and Right-Wingers Freak Out
Photo Credit: Answers in Genesis (L); Larry King (R); Composite Screenshot / YouTube.com
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Like clockwork, the folks at Answers in Genesis (AiG), the creationist haven for self-imposed ignorance, take issue once again with Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the popular television series “Cosmos.”
While it surprises no one that AiG would flip out over evolution, the Big Bang and any other perfectly described and demonstrated scientific theory, it is rather funny to see them flipping out over something much less controversial: oxygen.
Yes, they are upset about oxygen. At the start of the episode, Tyson describes what the early earth was like and its oxygen levels, and discusses some rather large insects that were able to thrive because of the massive amounts of oxygen on the planet.
Actually the notion that atmospheric oxygen levels were higher (estimated at 31–35 percent compared to our 21 percent, not really “almost twice”) has not been demonstrated. But high levels of oxygen can be toxic, and not all insects preserved with these giants were giants. Biologists are not certain why some insects grew so large and investigation is ongoing.
What makes this so funny is not only how wrong they are—scientists do know why these bugs grew so large (hint: it’s oxygen)—but the only things AiG links to are more pages inside of AiG; they don’t use actual peer-reviewed studies to back up their claims. In essence they are saying it’s true because they say it’s true. This is called circular reasoning.
They even go so far as to call scientific claims about the earth’s oxygen levels dogmatic:
One cannot be dogmatic about whether the pre-Flood atmosphere differed from today’s. However, we need not invoke high oxygen levels or evolution to explain giant insects.
What could be more dogmatic than continually saying “pre-Flood” when there is zero evidence of the great flood to which AiG is referring?
AiG carries on attacking Tyson and science over the claims that oxygen led to mass extinction around the globe. AiG takes issue because Tyson claims a massive volcanic eruption (scientifically proven) caused great extinction and change to the earth's atmosphere, while AiG claims this is not the case and is all explained by the great flood. Sounds like someone watched the movie Noah too many times.
Creationists simply cannot reconcile the scientific and historical evidence against their worldview, so instead of combating it with facts and evidence, they call scientists like Tyson liars.
Tyson discussed the scientific method and how it overcomes bias early in the episode, describing how plate tectonics was discovered after many scientists had discarded the idea of continental drift.
Scientists are human. We have our blind spots and prejudices. Science is a mechanism designed to ferret them out. Problem is we aren’t always faithful to the core values of science.
This is called honesty, something creationists and the folks at AiG care very little about. Instead AiG attacks science again:
By rejecting the historical record that should guide scientific conclusions about our origins, Tyson and those who stand with him are guilty of this themselves. These skeptics have blindly rejected the eyewitness account of a host of authors, guided by God, in the pages of Scripture due to their prejudices!
The audacity of these bible beaters to claim a need for eyewitness accounts, when they blindly follow a book that was “guided” by an invisible force they call God is a textbook definition of irony.
The scientific method demands scientific observations. Since no scientist today could observe the alleged deep history that Tyson eloquently describes, a scientific understanding of earth’s geological history requires reliance on some sort of eyewitness to the past.